Thursday, July 17, 2008
IFHOH Day Three, Part II
Day three-- part II
The first workshop we attended Friday was called Accessibility Awareness Collaboration and Hard-of-Hearing People given by Sami Virtanen from the Finnish Federation of Hard-of-Hearing People. Like the the real-time text workshop, I found it exceedingly difficult to pay attention. Tired of reading CART, and feeling full from the large lunch I nearly fell asleep. The late night, early morning routine was catching up with me. Virtanen spoke mainly about Finnish policies, especially with regard to required captioned television programming. The US has had that since 1990. I think the information presented was probably more useful to those in the political arena of policy change, because several representatives from HLAA, CHHA and various other HH/deaf organizations around the world stood up to comment.
I wanted to leave then, but Creating Consumer Awareness through Policy Change turned out to be a surprise. Sherri Collins was a firecracker from Arizona. After waking us all up by handing out prizes she detailed her personal hearing history, and drew a thought-provoking analogy between independence and accessibility. It was US Independence Day. I had forgotten.
Next, Sherri expanded on events leading up to a policy change requiring Arizona audiologists and hearing aid dispensers to provide information about the benefits of telecoils to consumers. Telecoils seemed to be a recurring theme at IFHOH.
Following her presentation, a few people commented they felt a law seemed unreasonably harsh. A man from Michigan spoke about how pressure had been placed on an airport to loop it without resorting to policy change. A woman from New Zealand detailed a sad story about an HH/deaf American tourist who was hit by a passenger train when he got off at the wrong stop after failing to hear an announcement. All NZ trains were looped for telecoil after that. Sadly, she said, it took a death to change policy.
One man remarked that telecoils should be called "accessibility coils" or a-coils since they were used for much, much more than the telephone. Discussion ensued about telecoil vs infrared and privacy concerns in courtrooms, federal buildings and other sensitive areas, since people with telecoils can sometimes hear outside looped rooms with the doors closed. Others protested that hearing aid manufacturers were making smaller, more attractive aids for the Baby-boom generation, dropping t-coil in the process. Two more concerns were voiced:
1) Policy to require telecoil induction loops in public buildings could become obsolete within a few years if hearing aid manufacturers stopped making hearing aids with telecoil capability.
2) Hearing aid manufacturers should be encouraged to include telecoil capability in their newer models because of the many, many benefits.
The final workshop of the day was Experience Working for and With Those With Meniere: A Non-Medical Perspective I attended this one mainly for my husband who was diagnosed with Menieres about six years ago. Dr. Henk de Graaf from the Netherlands reported on the results of a twenty-five year study of Menieres patients in his country. Then he led a discussion of alternative treatments for Meneires. One woman had some success with a chiropractic procedure where the feet were adjusted. Several people mentioned using vitamins, exercise, acupuncture, eating certain foods, not eating certain foods, reducing stress, yoga, marijuana-- you name it. Someone else mentioned the Meniett device. Hoping to discover something new I could share with my husband, I came away feeling deflated. No one knows of a cure.
That night Lorne went to a football game. In the mood for something ethnic, Kate, Ann and I sniffed our way up Davie Street, and found a little Mongolian Grill.
IFHOH Day Three, Part I
IFHOH Day Two
International Federation of Hard of Hearing Congress -- Part 1